More than 70 percent of the land in Transylvania County is public forestland. In fact, the word “Transylvania” means “across the forest.” Our county is unique, truly, in that there are more different kinds of public lands here than anywhere else. We have national forests, recreational forests, a national park, game lands, a state park and a newly opened state forest, all in one county.
There are three main forests in Transylvania County: The Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest in the northern part of the county, DuPont State Recreational Forest in the southeastern part of the county and Gorges State Park in the southwestern part of the county.
The Blue Ridge Parkway also bisects Pisgah along the northern edge of Transylvania County, and the city of Brevard has created the Bracken Mountain Preserve, a 7.1-mile trail system that connects the city of Brevard directly to Pisgah National Forest. Headwaters State Forest opened to the public last year, conserving more than 7,000 acres of working forestland. Headwaters State Forest is a destination more for wildlife viewing and a backcountry experience, with little trail development, and no plans to open the forest to mountain bikes.
Transylvania’s extensive woodlands create countless opportunities for mountain biking and road cycling. Please enjoy our public lands responsibly: many of the trails are multi-use and are open to hikers and equestrians. Bikers yield to all other users and extra caution should be used near horses. Proper etiquette has riders dismounting and communicating with horse owners.
\It’s important to remember that our public lands are actively managed forests and there is more going on than just people recreating. At any given time there may be hunting groups, logging operations, military training ops, wildlife studies, bike races, commercial users and even controlled burns. Be aware of what is going on around you while visiting our woods. Pay attention to signage, trail closures and, most importantly, your footing while exploring our waterfalls. People die every year exploring here; usually they lose their footing. Stay at the bottom of waterfalls, always let someone know where you are going and take a map.
Most importantly, have fun!